Cigarettes kill. There is no doubt in the minds of scientists, clinicians, or even smokers. Armed with that fact, why is it so hard for America to kick the habit?
A brief report in the November 29, 2012 NEJM from the Congressional Budget Office models the effect of a 50 cent per pack increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes (currently the rate is $1.01 per pack).
- 1.4 million adults would become nonsmokers
- 10,000 adults would have lived who otherwise would have died from smoking
- $730 million in reduced health costs to Medicare and Medicaid
- $700 million of increased revenues from increased economic productivity
- 3 million adults would become nonsmokers
- 200,000 adults would be alive instead of dead because of the policy change
- During the mid-2060′s the initial cost savings for health care would be offset by increased costs due to longevity
- Health effects and excise tax revenue combined would reduce the federal deficit throughout the entire time frame
Here’s the money shot:
Clearly, health and fiscal policy dictate that the federal excise tax on cigarettes should continue to climb. In a prior review, we suggest increasing it to at least $2.20 per pack (in 2010 dollars).
Cedric Dark, MD, MPH